Sunday, July 06, 2008

The “not improved” NY Times editorial board

chose July Fourth, one of the days the fewest readers would be looking at its editorial page to express its upset with Sen. Barack Obama’s recent repudiation of promises he made while battling Sen. Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination of the party of George Sores’ money. ( “New and Not Improved,” July 4, 2008)

Here’s some of the Times’ opining, with my commentary mixed in.

The Old Grey Lady began:

Senator Barack Obama stirred his legions of supporters, and raised our hopes, promising to change the old order of things. He spoke with passion about breaking out of the partisan mold of bickering and catering to special pleaders, promised to end President Bush’s abuses of power and subverting of the Constitution and disowned the big-money power brokers who have corrupted Washington politics.

Now there seems to be a new Barack Obama on the hustings. First, he broke his promise to try to keep both major parties within public-financing limits for the general election. His team explained that, saying he had a grass-roots-based model and that while he was forgoing public money, he also was eschewing gold-plated fund-raisers. These days he’s on a high-roller hunt. …

The new Barack Obama has abandoned his vow to filibuster an electronic wiretapping bill if it includes an immunity clause for telecommunications companies that amounts to a sanctioned cover-up of Mr. Bush’s unlawful eavesdropping after 9/11.

In January, when he was battling for Super Tuesday votes, Mr. Obama said that the 1978 law requiring warrants for wiretapping, and the special court it created, worked. “We can trace, track down and take out terrorists while ensuring that our actions are subject to vigorous oversight and do not undermine the very laws and freedom that we are fighting to defend,” he declared.

Now, he supports the immunity clause as part of what he calls a compromise but actually is a classic, cynical Washington deal that erodes the power of the special court, virtually eliminates “vigorous oversight” and allows more warrantless eavesdropping than ever. …
There’s more like that before the Times closes by saying none of that matters much: the Times is going to support Obama anyway, although it doesn’t say it quite that way.

Here’s the Times’ version of “Don’t worry, Barack. None of that stuff matters:”
We are not shocked when a candidate moves to the center for the general election. But Mr. Obama’s shifts are striking because he was the candidate who proposed to change the face of politics, the man of passionate convictions who did not play old political games.

There are still vital differences between Mr. Obama and Senator John McCain on issues like the war in Iraq, taxes, health care and Supreme Court nominations. We don’t want any “redefining” on these big questions. This country needs change it can believe in.
The Times wants to have it both ways. Express surprise and upset Obama’s not “the man of passionate convictions who [does] not play old political games,” while letting Obama and everyone else know “vital differences” between him and Sen. McCain over “big questions” assure him of the Times’ continuing support on the editorial and news pages.

The Times throws in “[w]e don’t want any ‘redefining’ on these big questions” to make us think its really standing by what it calls its “principles.”

But who’s fooled by that? It will go with Obama no matter what.

The entire editorial’s here.